Georgia Man Arrested and Banned from Sheriff's Office for Recording Public Records Request

By Carlos Miller
Jul. 03, 2014

It was just over a year ago that Matthew Haley was arrested for video recording on a public street corner in Georgia after deputies demanded his identification and he refused to provide it on the basis that he was not committing a crime, telling them that all he was doing was documenting the number of cars violating traffic laws.

Two days later on the Fourth of July, after having spent 12 hours in jail for obstructing, he was standing outside the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in Augusta being interviewed by a local television reporter about his arrest when a pair of deputies walked up to him and demanded his identification again, accusing him of suspicious behavior because he was holding a cell phone camera, even though it was obvious he was retelling the story of his unlawful arrest -- a charge that is still pending.

He hesitated at first, asking them if he was committing a crime, but eventually provided them identification, not wanting to spend another 12 hours in jail, especially on Independence Day, which evidently doesn’t mean a thing to the Constitutional contemptuous cops of Richmond County.

The local television media, of course, was oblivious as to whether he had the right to record on public property without showing identification, so they “went digging” as they explained to viewers in their report, interviewing a local attorney who stated that deputies had every right to harass and intimidate citizens into producing identification, but citizens don’t necessarily have to comply if they are not breaking the law (which, of course, won’t prevent them from getting arrested but the media is not concerned about that).

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